For many the memory of gardening with this extreme heat is a distant memory especially in Gauteng. Years ago I had a dear friend who told me how back in her day they survived water restrictions planting hardy perennials and seedlings that where a bit tougher but they still gardened and made their gardens somewhere to escape to. So they may be old fashioned plants but being tried and tested by water warriors to survive makes them our new fashioned favourites. Here's our trip down memory lane.
Colour in the summer
Some of the most popular flowers in the older gardens are making a comeback. Inca Lilies last for many years getting better and better each year. The Gaura or butterfly bushes as they are also known are hardly ever without a flower in full sun. Who remembers when daisy bushes were only available in yellow? Well they are making a comeback as a drought loving daisy in full sun flowering non-stop right through till the end of autumn.
Up and over the wall
Bougainvillea's are the true stars of drought years where they flower longer and grow stronger. Try them up a pillar or over a boundary wall where they will also become a thick screening shrub climber. The good old Banksia Rose will fill a large space and if left unchecked will easily grow over 10 metres high, flowering with a spectacular show of tiny yellow or white roses in spring.
Yellow is the colour of ambition and positive energy. That's the Golden Abelia for you. Growing without much care they add a permanent vibrant yellow show. Through summer they also flower adding an extra something.
Contrast them with some Colourful Flax. Flax is extremely water wise and needs little attention which is why one often saw them in older gardens where they make a show in full sun to part sun.
Waterwise and tough Potato bushes are extremely popular in our local area. They will grow in some shade but flower best if given maximum sun. They are also available in white but it is the blue that is simply the best performer.
When you feel a bit of despair listening to the negative weather forecast for the next while or reading about the water crisis in your neighbourhood on Facebook remember that gardeners before us lived through droughts and severe water restrictions too. Just look at what plants did well back then and revisit some old favourites almost forgotten but now back on the centre stage and you can have a beautiful garden despite the naysayers.